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Sign business returns to twp. under tax exemption

FLINT TWP. — The township board rolled out the red carpet to welcome back Signs by Crannie by approving an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Certificate.

Signs by Crannie, now based in Flushing, started in 1985 on Flushing Road in Flint Township.

Following a public hearing on October 30, the board also approved the creation of an Industrial Development District (IDD) for the property at 4145 Marketplace, where Signs by Crannie will be relocating by next spring after making extensive modifications.

Dan Crannie, owner, spoke during the public hearing to tell the board about his plans for the Flint Township property which is currently occupied by Needa-Parts Manufacturing.

“Through our expansion, a number of years ago, we moved to Mt. Morris Township off Pierson Road to a much larger facility,” he said. “Through growth and God’s good grace we have expanded again.”

The 52,000-square-foot building on Marketplace is being used as a distribution site but Crannie said he is working with an architect to come up with a design to turn it into a manufacturing facility and add 3-4,000 square feet of office space to an existing 6,200 square feet.

“We expect to bring a number of new jobs to the township and additional tax base,” he said, adding that he already has increased his staff to 35 from 30 in anticipation of the move which he hopes to complete by March or April.

Crannie said he looked at several properties in and out of Genesee County before buying the Marketplace property.

“Our commitment was to stay in Flint,” he said. “This is our home. Genesee county has been good to us (so) I wanted to keep it here in Flint or Flint Township.”

Crannie’s corporate headquarters is here but he also has an office in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Signs by Crannie has been rated one of the Top 100 Sign Companies in America by Construction Magazine. The company also was named the “2011 Manufacturer of the Year” by the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce (now Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce).

Crannie’s stamp is on numerous local buildings including signage at Genesee Valley Center mall and the changeover from old Citizens Bank signs to the new First Merit badge.

Tracey Tucker, township building and economic enhancement director, said the 12-year tax exemption certificate granted to Crannie’s does not mean it will not pay taxes.

“The things that we are taxing there today will still be taxed, the land and the building. We will lose no tax base by doing this,” she said.

The 50 percent exemption applies to new development including the building expansion Crannie is planning and parking lot upgrades.

Tucker also said that Crannie’s is bound by the exemption for 12 years. If he moves the business out of the township before that, he will have to repay the tax break amounts.

“It is sort of a guarantee that they are going to stay around,” Tucker said.

Tucker also explained that it is necessary to set up an IDD before granting a tax exemption. Generally, when IDDs are created for an industrial park, it applies to the entire development but in some cases it is done by parcel. There are two other IDDs located on Marketplace Drive, which is south of Bristol Road and near Bishop International Airport, she said.

Township Trustee George Menoutes personally thanked Crannie for choosing the township site.

“We are glad to have your work force here,” Menoutes said. “I have known your company for years. I know you are a reputable company and a man of your word. I personally thank you for coming back to Flint Township. We need more industry and more jobs.”

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller and clerk Kim Courts made similar comments.

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